CiclaValley Visits San Luis Obispo Part 2: Prefumo Canyon

Part 2 of my San Luis Obispo journey pretty much mirrors Part 1 in terms of readiness.

I still had none unless you count the little R & D I did the day before.

Wanting to try something new, I fired up the old Strava to see what was going on around in this neck of the woods and I noticed Perfumo Canyon was heavily traveled.


Perfumo Canyon has easy rolling hills to start

Waking up at 4:55am, again for my daughter’s potty break, didn’t give me a lot of motivation to look elsewhere, so I strapped on the lights and away I went.

Normally, I double check with Google street view so I have an idea of the road conditions, but this road has been climbed thousands of times. Who does homework anyways?

Turning onto Perfumo Canyon, you’re greeted by your typical suburban subdivision, not its not long before before you enter solitude.

The lane stripings disappear and trees become your canopy as you pass the occasional driveway.

From the point you exit civilization, the climb is 4.8 miles averaging 4%, which doesn’t sound that bad.


The road opens halfway up

You can describe the early stretch as rollers with an easy grade, but the road’s consistency and visibility make it difficult to sustain tempo.

Still, I was able to move at a pretty good clip shifting gears seemingly a few times every minute.

Most of what you see for the first half are slight hints of the peaks above since you make your way between a couple hills.

Perfugo04 The Hills of the Central Coast start to reveal themselves

After three miles, I noticed I had climbed only about 400 feet. That seemed really easy until sure enough a steep little 15% section kicked in.

It was short, but enough of a grade that’ll bring out your panting sounds.

Just after, the real reveal kicked in. The trees and brush gave way to grasslands letting you discover the views situated around.

You learn quickly that this is not LA where smog plays a prominent role in your sightlines. I could easily Morro Bay and the number of ridges that grace the Central Coast.


I probably should have stopped, but hoped that pulling out my camera on the fly would be enough to capture the beauty. Yes, but no.

The hills got punchy as I neared the top, but the grazing landscape opened up where I saw a number of cows, deer and turkeys. That wasn’t a typo.

There were a pair of them blocking the road and I didn’t know what to do. I just slowed as they passed because I’d hate the headline, “Hack cyclist writer mauled by turkeys”.


Flat tire velominati rule breaking time

The top flattened out for a little bit, but I didn’t have much time to enjoy the views. There was instant payback for the climb with a steep downhill where the road turned quickly from asphalt to gravel.

I slowed a bit, but not enough to get a flat rolling over the cattle grid too fast. I had just one tube, meaning if this didn’t work, I’d be SOL since I hadn’t seen a living human being on this road since I stepped foot on it. Or rolled rubber as the case may be.



Gravel time out

The gravel section was only about a mile, but I continued on cautiously since there was no Plan B.

When the road returned to pavement, the conditions were still choppy, so you have keep a heads up to catch an edge here or there.



See Canyon

It’s also at this point where Perfumo Canyon turns into See Canyon, a lush collection of farms and wineries.

I didn’t have time to make it to Avila Beach, but I was fine with that. The climb fully satisfied me.